‘The development of Balochistan is close to my heart,’ says Nawaz Sharif before leaving for a possible heart bypass.
Russell Domingo, South Africa’s cricket coach said about the Pakistan cricket team that ‘their unpredictability is not a challenge because they are predictably unpredictable. Their strength lies in the predictability of their unpredictability,’ which sounds about right if you can work it out. Clearly the whole predictability vs unpredictability thing resonated with the Pakistan government because they’ve taken a leaf out of the team’s book. If one could suspect them of any organized tactical moves you would detect them in some unpredictable behavior while pretending to be strong and predictable, you know what I mean?
Unexpectedly for the prime minister of a poor country, although not unpredictably for Mr. Nawaz Sharif, he, the Prime Minister of Pakistan decided to have his heart surgery (it was open heart surgery) in England and recuperate afterwards in kingly style in his apartment in the same country. While predictably, the real king of people’s hearts Mr. Edhi refused to leave the country for treatment in spite of being offered the facility. While the PM is being nursed back to health in London the government has been moved to his apartment in that city because predictably there is nothing in place for in case such a thing happens. Back home Mr Ishaq Dar and some other people scuttle around firing orders on the PM’s behalf.
Meantime the Foreign Office, unexpectedly but predictably enough given the performance of the rest of government, issued a statement saying that Abdul Sattar Edhi had passed away. A country that couldn’t really care too much which way the PM’s surgery went, or if it did it did so only in a cursory sort of manner, sobbed in collective grief and then took a heartfelt sigh of relief when Faisal Edhi, Sattar Edhi’s son issued a statement that the Foreign Office had exaggerated. ‘My father lives and is well,’ he assured us. We pray that Mr. Edhi and his wife may continue to live in our midst for a long time yet. Amen.
So we have a Foreign Office that doesn’t appear to know what’s going on at home, which makes you wonder what it knows about foreign parts, and a PM who doesn’t trust his own hospitals and only opens his heart to outsiders (that’s a neat pun if I say so myself). We have a Council of Islamic Ideology that misplaces the moon twice a year every single year and spends an entire day and a half looking for it with telescopes on top of high plazas, and a nation that waits with bated breath to thrust the sewian into a pan the minute they get the word.
We have a Ministry of Finance that just presented a budget, the bulk of which is spent in paying off interest on government borrowing, followed predictably enough on ‘Defence Affairs and Services’. Inexplicably, the sum allocated to the President….his staff, household and allowances…amounts to Rs.863.48 million. Good grief! Mamnoon Hussain! And I had to google his name because I was unsure of both the name and how to spell it, but that’s okay because I am sure he is unsure how to spell it too if he has any idea of how to spell at all. If he was Moon Hussain and he got lost do you reckon anyone would bother looking for him with telescopes on top of high plazas? Just saying.
As for education in the budget, well what of it? Given that Pakistan spends the least on education in all of Asia, the 2016-17 budget… well just imagine a largerectangle, okay? Now imagine a tiny little rectangle up on one side, much, much smaller than the one for Defence, much, much, much smaller than the one for paying off loans etc, and that tiny rectangle would be for education.
Predictably inexplicable? Yes.